Every Vocaloid producer out there seems to be banking on the “high school story” series appeal in their songs, which given their success and manga-adaption ability, is unsurprising. I’m not really familiar with Last Note’s “Mikagura School Suite”, but Seeing a Sixteen-Day-Old Moon grabbed my attention with its name alone. The starry-themed PV is packed with sweet animations about a lonely boy who gets pulled into a happier social circle at school. And because it’s Last Note, the song mixes an electronic beat with a rock sound and a happy ending.
The Vocaloid Wikia has a pretty cute and short bio on the producer Last Note: “A two-person unit which produces high-spirited, intense songs, characterized by their classic rock tunes. Their songs have a happy ambiance and are at times upbeat. Last Note. has shown high proficiency in making music by including violin sections into their songs.” That somewhat describes one of my favorite songs, Setsuna Trip, and their bright handling of GUMI’s tuning. The included author comment for Seeing a Sixteen-Day-Old Moon goes: “Last Note. here. Recently, it feels like I haven’t been looking at the stars as much. I should stop staring at my feet and face upwards as I walk! Yep, let’s do that!” Cute, isn’t it?
Let’s check out the PV.
As the fifth song in the Mikagura School Suite series, this one’s about Imizu Asuhi (射水アスヒ), from the Astronomy Club. Since I’ve never actually watched any other videos, so alas I return to the wikia for the gist of the storyline. It seems the setting is a boarding high school, where each student joins cultural after-school clubs and battle each other via special abilities. The pink-haired (with her ‘hehe’ smile) girl is Ichinomiya Eruna, freshman on the task of befriending club representatives with her pet flying cat. Much of the fun shenanigans hinted at unfortunately does not really make an appearance in this PV, which is mostly centered on Imizu’s internal thoughts.
Comparatively, Imizu’s problems are pretty average. He seems to be the sole member left of the Astronomy Club and enjoys stargazing and constellation-mapping by himself. However, the distance he feels from the rest of the students is represented by the set of windows that separate them as he carries around his telescope and looks on. Although his lyrics stress his own weak nature, the PV shows a lot of snippets where the other students interact normally and appear willing to be inclusive. Rather than any real barrier, Imizu’s isolation comes from low self-esteem.
Enter the charismatic, clumsy-but-cute Eruna who pulls him into their activities and gives him the much needed push into becoming braver. In the end, the “rain cloud” that blocks the sky is dispelled by Eruna’s promise of “clear skies” for a long time afterwards. Together, they look onto the “sixteen-day-old moon”, the number of which I assume comes from how many days Eruna has been at the school (??), and Imizu feels this “tightness” in his heart (too bad for him, he’s not the main guy type).
Even if the song is somewhat basic fare and the story is nothing really special in the series, the lyrics do have a nice touch of metaphoric arrangement and cohesiveness. In the PV, the blue tones paint both a beautiful night sky and Imizu’s somber mood, which lightens up as Eruna and the others enter in their colorfully-coordinated character designs. While the cast looks appealing enough, I’d have liked to see more of the story and individual personalities/abilities – I suppose Imizu’s story in Seeing a Sixteen-Day-Old Moon isn’t the best introduction to the work. It’s really the fun little animated quirks and changing panels that keep you watching through it all. The music, of course, is an upbeat tone, but considering the amount of talent they are capable of and are on the same level with, Seeing a Sixteen-Day-Moon falls a little short into the unremarkable category. I personally also felt GUMI’s tuning held excess vibrato that may have worked for Setsuna Trip, but hits almost Kagamine Rin levels of pitchy here. Plus, the story itself isn’t drawing me in like the Honeyworks and etc. serialized manga plots at this time.
-Cute PV and great animation.
-Cliche concept and story development.
-Lack of clear character personality/introductions.
-Pitchy tuning for GUMI.